The annual Phase I solicitation for advanced concepts is assembled and published by the NIAC staff. Since the technical scope of the solicitation is as broad as NASA's charter and mission, the solicitation wording emphasizes the desire for revolutionary advanced concepts that address all elements of the NASA areas of responsibility. The Scope of Work is written to inspire proposals in all NASA Mission areas and contains brief descriptions of NASA Enterprise areas of emphasis. In general, proposed advanced concepts should be:

  • Revolutionary, new and not duplicative of previously studied NASA concepts.
  • An architecture or system described in a mission context.
  • Adequately substantiated with a description of the scientific principles that form the basis for the concept.
  • Largely independent of existing technology or unique combination of systems and technologies.

The overarching theme of the Phase I CFP is the encouragement of creative and often intuitive approaches leading to revolutionary paradigm changes and interpretive applications or totally new concepts. These revolutionary paradigm changes and the resulting restructuring of the framework for further development may be characterized by one or more of the following attributes:

  • The genius is in the generalities, and not the details.
  • The new idea creates a pathway that addresses a roadblock.
  • It inspires others to produce useful science and further elaboration of the fundamental idea.
  • It contributes to a major change in the framework of aerospace possibilities.
  • It triggers a transformation of intuition.

NIAC will give special emphasis on technical areas that may have a potential for revolutionary breakthroughs, such as the concepts that may spring forth from non-aerospace disciplines or at the interface of traditional disciplines. NIAC will continue this process of continuous examination of the state of scientific discovery and of the responses to CFPs and will refine each Phase I CFP to inspire creative, leading-edge concepts. The CFP shall state that NASA and Jet Propulsion Laboratory employees are ineligible to submit proposals or receive funding.

A NIAC CFP is distributed in electronic form only. Under a typical schedule for NIAC operation, a CFP for one Phase I and one Phase II is prepared and released every calendar year as shown in Figure A.2. All proposals must be submitted electronically to the NIAC in PDF in order to be considered for award. Technical proposals in response to Phase I CFPs are limited to 12 pages.

6 months - $50-$75K
Technical Proposal Limit: 12 pages
Electronic PDF Submission ONLY
Is the concept revolutionary rather than evolutionary?
To what extent does the proposed activity suggest and explore creative and original concepts?
Is the concept for an architecture or system, and have the benefits been qualified in the context of a future NASA mission?
Is the concept substantiated with a description of applicable scientific and technical disciplines necessary for development?